I’m not going to produce a report of each speaker’s presentations because most of the presentations will be available on the CILIP website, and Sharon Crossan (RSC Wales) has written comprehensively on quite a few of them. Instead, I’ll reflect on some of my observations and key things I learnt.
One observation is the rise in the number of delegates with laptops for taking notes (or increasingly tweeting), or smartphones for tweeting. I’ve started taking a small laptop to conferences now as it saves a lot of time typing up poorly written notes. I found that I couldn’t triple multi-task though: I couldn’t listen and look at the speaker, type notes and tweet, so I generally abandoned tweeting and opted for typing reasonably detailed notes.
Phil Bradley’s talk (with surely an award-winning title and closing interactive video with Dr Who), highlighted the top 11 social media tools that libraries (and museums and archives) should get to grips with in order to communicate more effectively. See Sharon’s blog for the list. During a later conversation with Phil we discussed the difference between using them as a consumer e.g. reading a blog, and as a creator e.g. writing a blog. Unfortunately, many librarians (in all sectors, other than HE), are still prevented from accessing social media and social networking platforms, either as consumers or creators. The survey I undertook jointly with the marketing project officers in 2010 and available on the CyMAL website reveals the situation in libraries in Wales (and which is probably applicable to the UK as well). Having been given official permission to have a blog after presenting a business case I intend to write a blog about this in the future to share my tips.
From the virtual to the physical space. Dr Judith Keene’s talk about the new Hive (a new shared library between Worcester city library and the university, opening July 2012) was very interesting and highlighted that we often discuss ‘shared services’ but may have different perceptions about what ‘shared’ means. This is important for me to remember as I work a lot with librarians in Wales on partnership projects, joint working etc, all-Wales activities. Some of the tips from the Hive are things I will keep in mind for the forthcoming Libraries Inspire strategy e.g. keep vision clear, agree core values at the start, focus on the benefits for users and look for enhanced opportunities.
There’s certainly plenty that can be done if libraries are to survive and thrive (the conference theme).